TWENTY cottage markets are set to open in towns across the country this year as a result of an initiative unveiled by GIY and supported by Ulster Bank and The Ireland Funds.
Last month, community groups from across the country were invited to apply to the initiative for funding in order to establish and run their very own cottage market. Twenty groups, including Claremorris in Co. Mayo, have been successful in their applications and they will now be awarded with a tailor-made training programme that will provide them with the skills they need in order to firmly place fresh homegrown and homemade food back into the hearts of their communities.
The teams behind the 20 new markets will later this month undertake a training course at GROW HQ in Waterford - GIY’s food education centre and home to the GIY (grow it yourself) movement. Each group will also receive funding towards marketing, insurance and set-up equipment costs.
In Claremorris, organisers behind the market say they provide an outlet for small local growers and food producers to market their produce, share knowledge in the community on the importance of eating locally produced food, and provide a social outlet for the community where they can come together to buy local food and see food growing. The team behind the new cottage market aim to host their first market this month.
Commenting at the announcement of the 20 new cottage markets, GIY’s community manager, Karen O’Donohoe, said: “Our call-out to communities in Ireland for applications was successful and we were very impressed by the vision and quality of the applications. It's wonderful to see such a huge interest in growing, creating and selling local produce right across the country.”
According to GIY, a cottage market differs from a farmers' market concept in that it is all about bringing hobbyists and amateur producers from a local area together to showcase their often hidden skills and talents in areas such growing, sewing or baking.